According to new data published by the European Commission, the UK has some of the best carcase classification results in the EU.
In 2013, 78% of commercial pigs slaughtered were classified as S grade and a further 21% were grade E.
BPEX’s Pig Market Weekly says there has been a steady improvement in the distribution of pig carcases by grade in the past 30 years as at the beginning of the period the majority of pigs were classified as I/U. However, it notes that there was a change in methodology in about 2005.
Marked improvements in classification have taken place across the EU over the years. However, the UK enjoys a particularly good performance as in the EU as a whole, only 51% were classified as grade S in 2013 and 38% grade E. This may be partly the result of the fact that pigs slaughtered in the UK include entire males and that carcase weights are lower.
Only Spain had results to match the UK in 2013, and the performance of Danish pigs was somewhat inferior with 59% classified as grade S and 38% grade E. In contrast to the other major producers, grade E was the most numerous category in Germany and the Netherlands.
As per European Union rules, abattoirs that slaughter more than 200 pigs a week are required to classify pig carcases under the SEUROP grid system. The main aims of classification are to compare price quotations across the EU member states, enable monitoring of the market situation, reward producers for delivering the required carcases and to calculate the EU reference price.